When you’re about to go to market, there’s quite a few things you can do to increase your chances of a swift and smooth sale. As with many aspects of life, the key is preparation, preparation, preparation.
The one thing that great interiors photoshoots have in common is the clutter and tat – or rather the lack thereof. Removing piles of letters, old newspapers, clothes and books lets people focus on the space itself rather than wondering why you have so many Thomas Hardy novels.
Clearing out a space also makes it more inviting for people to walk through and make plans in.
Depersonalisation is the next step up from decluttering. You’re not just removing your old wellies, school photos and depressing literature, you’re removing yourself, which lets viewers insinuate themselves into your home (in a good way, because they may well pay you for it…).
Some vendors find it a tough process, but it’s a proactive step and, after all, one you’ll have to do when you actually move.
Bring more light into your home
Lighting really matters, not just for photos, but for viewings as well.
For daytime viewings, open the curtains as wide as possible and turn on the lamps in any dark corners you might have. For winter and night-time viewings, make sure all the overhead lights and lamps are on and that you’ve invested in some brighter bulbs.
Select the right smells
Of course, some smells need to be shown the door ASAP, such as mould, pets, rubbish bins and old cooking. However, you can go overboard with scent diffusers, incense sticks and plug-in air fresheners, so aim for subtle and natural. A cinnamon stick on a radiator, for example, can add a lovely smell to the air without being obvious.
You want a gentle aroma to permeate the air inside your home, rather than blasting viewers with artificial perfumes, as they may wonder what you’re trying to cover up.
Work on the to-do list
There’s always something to be done – a leaky tap, a scuffed skirting board, a loose floorboard – you know they’re there, just waiting… Now is the time to set to them and sort these loose ends out so that your property is as good as it can be.
Neutral doesn’t have to be boring
When you think of neutral colours you probably groan inwardly at the vision of magnolia and greige that meets your mind’s eye. Groan no more, because there are some beautiful and interesting neutral colours out there now, so head to your local DIY store and check them out.
Bringing your walls back to neutral is another way to depersonalise and it also gives viewers one less urgent task to perform after they’ve moved in.
Create a focal point for each room
Depersonalising and bringing colours back to neutral gives you the chance to bring out each room’s focal point, whether it’s a stunning fireplace, a big bay window or a quirky alcove. Pick out a focal point and highlight it with a plant, an artwork or a lamp.
Downplay your pets
Your pets are all amazing, of course, but not all viewers have seen the light yet. It’s best to err on the side of caution and hide away as many traces of your dog, cat, ferret or emu as possible.
In practice this can be as simple as sending Fido to the neighbour along with his bed and bowl when there’s a viewing, or you may want to temporarily rehome your pets until you’re ready to move. Things like litter trays and half-chewed dog bones can be an instant turn-off for some people and you need to accept that.
Show off your storage
People have more things nowadays, from the basics like clothes and books to a huge collection of nail varnishes and Squid Games merch. Whatever it is, people need to know that their prized possessions will also have a comfortable new home, so let them see this.
Clear out your storage cabinets, shelves, under-sink cupboards and so on so that viewers can see how much space they’ll have to work with. The decluttering process should help here, but if you’re still pushed for space then it’s worthwhile renting a storage unit so you’re not just shifting everything up into the loft or into the garage.
Get some kerb appeal
People often drive past a house before booking a viewing, so make sure they’re extra-motivated to see your property by your amazing-looking front garden and porch.
Clean the windows, water any hanging baskets, jet-wash the garden path and paint the front door, too, so that your entire frontage looks as inviting as possible. These are relatively small jobs, but they can have a huge impact.
Deep clean and then keep cleaning
The cleaner your home is, the better. Look at every surface, every nook, every windowsill and clean it. Then get your carpets professionally cleaned, then do some more cleaning…
Pay extra attention to limescale, launder the curtains, deep clean the oven, bleach your bathroom grouting. It may be worth bringing in the professionals for more than just your carpets and then booking a cleaner for a couple of hours each week to stay on top of things.